When Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors a year ago, it made them the heavy favorites to win the title for as long as he, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson remained together in the Bay Area. That was the on-court impact of Durant’s decision to join Golden State, but off the court, it created something of an internal battle among Warriors’ stars.
Steph Curry is the face of Under Armour basketball through the 2016 NBA Finals, Curry’s sneaker had begun challenging the big boys at Nike, adidas, and Jordan in popularity. Durant is Nike’s clear No. 2 behind LeBron James (although Kyrie Irving’s sneaker sold more last year than KD), and his signature shoe just got it’s 10th installment ahead of the NBA Finals, and there has been speculation that Nike possibly aided in pushing him to Golden State — Draymond Green, the most vocal recruiter of Durant, is a Nike athlete.
Even if they weren’t an active participant in pushing Durant to the Warriors, the shoe giant was thrilled to have a signature footprint to challenge Curry in the ravenous Golden State fan market. Per Forbes, Under Armour’s shoe sales — with Curry’s sneaker being their biggest seller — had a massive first quarter of 2016 before fading significantly the rest of the year. There are a number of factors at play in that drop, but one could point to Durant’s arrival and a strong Nike presence as at least a legitimate factor in the Curry sneaker tapering off.